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Social Media Hybrid Marketing


Hybrid visual thesaurus The more I read about social media campaigns without conversations ..  The more I watch companies expand marketing departments to include social media positions that put a premium on tech skills versus marketing experience .. The more I see social media consultants focus on old/traditional messaging wrapped in new/social media Web 2.0 ..

The more I wonder .. I wonder if along the way marketers created a hybrid which isn't social media in the traditional sense of building and nurturing relationships or providing added value to the customer. Let's call this - Social Media Hybrid Marketing.

In interviews I've asked many, many people what social media means to them and the over riding response was two words: people and relationships. In the world of Social Media Hybrid Marketing people and relationships seem take second or third place. The emphasis is on driving traffic, creating buzz, sending the message further into the virtual world where if the digital goddess is kind it will go viral. Consider the following in terms of this new model ..

4 Social Media Hybrid Marketing Tactics

1. Videos - It's leveraging technology to send messages like How Stuff Works YouTube video - that by the way pairs up with TV spots. Or FedEx's series also on YouTube. Sure there may be a social element like YouTube's comments .. however, the emphasis not to develop or build relationships with the customer and the people behind the brand.

2. Blogger Relations/Sponsored Conversations - It's using the relationships/influence of others who are active in social media (bloggers, tweets, vloggers, podcasters, etc.) to serve as the messenger for your products or services. Pulse of the Industry Blogger Relations Series explores the expectations from the point of view of bloggers, brand managers and agency folks. The brand manager often forfeits the customer relationship since the social media content provider is the gatekeeper to her community.

3. Contests - It's contests that capitalize on technology using platforms like Second Life where Coca Cola asked people to design a Virtual Thirst Machine. Or rent.com's video contest where the best voted promotional video won $10k. Similar to video messages the media many have social components but they are rarely utilized by those on the brand side of the equation to chat with customers.

4. Digital Idea Management or Viralsourcing - It's when a company solicits customer suggestions on a platform designed to capture intellectual concepts to improve its products/service or company. Frequently there are social aspects from comments to voting that digg it up or down. Dell, Starbucks, Best Buy have incorporated this approach. Some companies seem to be challenged with how to talk to their customers even to the extend of saying "thanks" for your ideas.

Where does that leave us? Are these simply old marketing programs with technology twists and turns? Or additional ways to view social media? Or is social media changing to where the people/relationship side is not the heart of social media but a nice to have on the way to counting the number of views or clicks?

Social Media Idea Management: An intellectual capital hustle?


Idea light bulb Imagine this scene - You've invited me to your home to discuss my ideas that may help you .. fill in the blank .. do your job better/make a better product/write a job description, etc. You also invite lots of other people. We find our way to your house. Instead of drinks together in your living room or coffee around your kitchen table you show us to separate rooms.

Then you walk away. However, naive that we are, we assume you are listening, care about us, that we matter to you.  So we happily share our creative ideas. Although our thoughts echo in our empty rooms we smile pleased to be of service to you. Every once in awhile some one wanders by and chats briefly. But rarely if ever is it you. Not even to say "thank you." 

Where are you? You're sitting behind an online dashboard gathering our intellectual capital as if it were digital diamonds. No girlfriend, it's not a focus group. Or maybe it is. Maybe this is the social media version of a focus group but with less honesty and less transparency. It's called IdeaXYZ or IdeaFireStorm or My(your brand) or ShareYourIdeas ... But don't expect anything back other than the satisfaction you derive in a bit of ego boosting on a brand site with some people who might vote you up or vote you down.

Are The Brands exploiting customers in the name of "engagement?" Are we so excited that The Brands have given us a way to directly and easily express our opinions that we clamor to give mega brands our creative ideas without even expecting a "thank you" in return?

Or is this simply the way that Brands approach the interaction of social media. Is it the way they view their role in the "conversation" of social media? Is it naivety or is it digital social media ineptness on how they perceive what is appropriate to build and nurture relationships?

Social media has two aspects. The first is digital research. That simply means reading posts and tweets of your customers to better understand who they are, what they care about and what they say about your brand. I think of it as raw, informal, qualitative, real time or what should be the  "first listening post" in your marketing research strategy.

The second aspect is something that is unique to social media. Other than trade shows, there are no business initiatives that I know of where marketers can hang out with their customers. Like any person-to-person exchange it's rarely structured. It can get messy and to make it work there has to be genuine interest on both sides.

  • Establishing an authentic presence in social media is where many marketers fall down. "Most brands aren't doing it successfully." Shiv Singh, vice president/global social media lead Razorfish (study)

Then there is a new kid on the block - Digital Idea Management or Viralsourcing - which seems to me a mash-up of these two concepts. Although based on the user group experience this has a stronger social media overlay. Customers are invited into a special company-based website to talk about what would make a better computer or latte or retail experience.

It's highly social since comments are open, often voting of each idea is encouraged and of course every post comes with the opportunity to be Dugg, Tweeted, Facebooked (new word) etc. One would naturally assume that the people who are on The Brand side would pop in to offer encouragement, provide feedback, say thank you. In other words to join in the conversation or as Shiv Singh says, "Establish an authentic presence." Rarely happens.

 If I were a bettin' diva I would say that Digital Ideology sites will become more prevalent across industries and sectors. Maybe even to engage in real exchanges. For now it seems that companies are using it in a traditional media/marketing way.

Dell is exploring this model and sharing learnings. This presentation from Dell details their Idea Management strategy behind IdeaStorm.  On slide 12 Dell outlines customer expectations as positive experience, action taken on ideas and recognition. With tactics on How To Address including: timely feedback, clear status updates, thank you mechanisms.

Happy to help you out dear brands but I expect you to join in tThank-youhe conversation with me and at least say 

Monday Morn Musings - Video


The Brothers of Maxwell - a Canadian music duo - take their customer gripe with United Airlines beyond dissatisfaction into vestiges of folk music. At least to me. Video becomes folk commentary.

United Breaks Guitars reminds me of Charlie on the MTA.

Words are powerful. Even more when they're put to music. Even more when video is added. Even more powerful with the the ease of internet pass along. A customer service gripe becomes a "cause." Think about it ..

Social Media Makes The Customer Experience Personal


LavenderThe recent rains awaken the heady scent of the lavender bush at the front of my house. I pass by it every day. I planted it several years ago but today the scent was exceptionally strong .. almost intoxicating. I had to stop what I was doing for an extra moment or two. Sometimes what we see all the time, what is in front of us can be overlooked.

This afternoon an email popped into my in-box from a favorite dessert company - Dancing Deer - from Boston. I send Dancing Deer gifts all the time. Somehow I feel connected to the company for a number or reasons: Boston, my friends love their presents, the site is graphically whimsical, frequent coupons, they have "heart" in giving back to the community.

The subject line "Sweet deals and ice cream cookie sandwiches" caught my eye (it's summer and I'm making ice cream .. there goes the diet again!) and I opened and clicked into the site to find out more. The click took me to a blog. Way cool! I had no idea. Dancing Deer and I had yet something else in common - social media. Must be new I thought. Nope .. it's been around for several months.

I went back to the home page - no mention or link. I went back to the blog and searched a round some more. Oh my .. the owner, Tish Karter, was in Atlanta in April for the start of a 1500 bike ride "..to engage the public in a conversation about how to end homelessness." She blogged and vlogged her journey.

Awesome but why did I not know about this? I guess I missed the email? Surely I would have noticed that email. I mean come on .. Atlanta, social media, a bike ride from-to the 2 cities I've lived in. They reached out to bloggers - some of whom are friends. They never talked to me.

Now I'll tell you something that you might think is rather silly .. I felt a little sad. Isn't that odd? I've never met Tish, homeless is not my "cause" but If Dancing Deer had reached out to its customer base, If they had told me about their blog or that they were tweeting I might have been able to help. Not only that there would Dancing deerhave been a significant brand experience creating not just a fan but a raving fan.

Adding social media to your communication strategy you give your customers more than an email, or a press release or even a free cookie. You are inviting them into your world beyond the spin of advertising or PR.  Odd as it may sound - when you talk to your customers it becomes personal for them. 

Sometimes, like with my lavender bush, what we see all the time, what is in front of us maybe overlooked. Developing All of your strategies with your customers in mind becomes increasingly critical if you step into the world of blogs, vlogs, twitter, Facebook, podcasts .. social media marketing.

"The Peachtree" Road Race - Lessons Learned


Happy Fourth of July!

Peachtree road race 2009 tshirt Run, walk, watch or read tweets #peachtree road race - The Peachtree is Atlanta's tradition for the 4th of July morning. Today the 2009 Peachtree Road Race celebrates its 40th anniversary back where it started at Piedmont Park. 5500 will proudly wear the 2009 Peachtree Road Race t-shirt this year.

The race is so integrated into Atlanta culture that we simply say "The Peachtree" assuming that all the world understands what that means. Talking with @Pollig this week brought that one home. My friend from Boston, well Weymouth, MA, was confused when I mentioned that after The Peachtree I'd probably join friends in Midtown tonight to watch fireworks.

I thought it does sound funny - "Watch the Peachtree." Why would you watch a street and which Peachtree street might that one be since Atlanta has 50 zillion Peachtree Streets?

How many times do we get caught up in our own company's or industry's buzz words? How often do we confuse customers and especially prospective customers? We don't mean to .. it's just part of our culture. But in doing so we construct barriers that our customers have to figure out by themselves how to maneuver around.

In marketing, especially social media marketing, that seems to happen all the time. So much so that worlds that seem obvious become platitudes. A term that social media consultants and marketers love to toss around is conversation. What are these "conversations?"  What does it mean to be authentic? How do you define transparency?

Lessons learned from The Peachtree Road Race: Give your customers an unobstructed course to run your The Peachtree!

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing_4


Atlanta has a lively interactive and traditional marketing community. As Jenn Bonnett's new Startup Chicks has proven there are lots of women launching exciting businesses with a tech focus. BUT I wondered .. Where are the women in Atlanta who use social media as a marketing tool? Sooo .. I'm doing what any social media marketer would do reaching out to my network on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and offline too. My goal is to create a resource list.

If you meet this criteria please let me know. Using social media as a marketing strategy for your company/brand or helping clients use social media as a marketing strategy. Check out the other Atlanta Women in Social Media Marketing mini interviews.

Jamie LackeyJaime Lackey Pizzeria Venti (Atlanta) @pvatl Pizzeria Venti (Atlanta) Blog

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - I started social media marketing initiatives with the idea that I could help promote my family’s new restaurant. But once I joined Twitter, I realized how much more there is to social media. For example, we’ve been involved with several charity fundraiser events for local organizations that I discovered through Twitter. In other words, Twitter is helping us to become a better corporate citizen - and the online community connects us with our physical community.

2. My favorite social media tactic is Twitter. At Pizzeria Venti, we have a Facebook page and a blog, but I find Twitter to be more interactive and I really enjoy that.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? The stigma of “what I had for breakfast” tweets. Users must experiment to find connections w/value & learn to use social media effectively.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - At Pizzeria Venti, we strive to bring the food and atmosphere of Italy’s trattorias to Atlanta. The food is authentic Italian, and we do our best to create an atmosphere that is casual and family-friendly but that puts customer service in the highest priority.

5. I began offering social media marketing this year, after opening the restaurant in December 2008. We established our Facebook page first and then realized it isn’t very  easy to have a two-way conversation with fans or to reach out to people who are not yet fans, so I looked into Twitter. Because of the 140-character limit, I realized I needed a blog so I could link to details that take more than 140 characters. So we launched our blog in May.

Stephanie beckham Stephanie Beckham BrainJocks @sbeckham

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - Social Media Marketing is an outreach effort for your personal or company brand. Anyone who views it as only a way to push a product, blog or services will miss out on a huge opportunity to connect and listen.

The key word here is “social”. Social media adopters are very reluctant to being “marketed” to, so it’s kind of ironic that we actually call it marketing. Social Media is a tool that should be integrated as part of an overall marketing effort, not as a single strategy to sell. The key here is to communicate, network and above all, be real.

2. My favorite social media tactic is being social. Seriously! That’s it. Oh, and there are all these great tools that help brands strategically target the people they want to engage. These tools are free, easy to use and extremely effective.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Pushing past our southern stereotype and proving the strength of our interactive community.

4. 2 sentences about your company - BrainJocks is an established Atlanta web technology company that provides web application and product development services grounded in thorough requirements, analysis and strategy consulting. BrainJocks combines their expertise and experience with the latest trends and technologies in web development and online marketing to help power online ideas. I primarily focus on: Sales, conversation and what’s for lunch?

5. I began using all the latest social media tools in 2008. By the way, what’s a twitter?

Lindsay Blankenship 09 Lindsay Blankenship Lindsay Blankenship Razorfish @lcblankenship

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - Razorfish calls it Social influence Marketing (SIM) in recognition of the increasing role that online social influence plays in brand affinity and purchasing decisions.  Consumers are communicating and sharing opinions more and more online through social networks that shape other’s opinions whether its family, friends or a complete stranger. 

2. My favorite social media tactic is testing pushing promotional snippets out to Twitter and Facebook for my clients with trackable URLs and seeing the compound effect it has on getting the message out and now turning into revenue for clients.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Making sure we showcase our social media work locally and nationally to get social media street “creds” from our peers

4. 2 sentences about your company. - I primarily focus on Search Engine Marketing; however my company (Razorfish) is a full service digital agency and is one of the largest interactive marketing and technology companies in the world.  Razorfish employs more than 2,000 people in 21 offices worldwide and have a world-class client list that includes brands like Carnival Cruise Lines, Kraft, Levi’s, McDonald’s and Starwood Hotels.

5. I began SMM personally in the Myspace days - maybe 5yrs ago.  Razorfish has offered Social Influence Marketing to clients for a few years now.

Sandi solow Sandi Karchmer Solow  I Send Your Email I Send Your Email Blog @sandisolow

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - I think of social media marketing as a way to have a direct dialogue with your consumers and stakeholders. The channels defined as social media allow for a unique type of interaction that other marketing channels cannot achieve.

2. My favorite social media tactic is email!

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Our city needs to find a way to differentiate itself from other major U.S. cities - what's our niche?

4. 2 sentences about your company. I am an independent email marketing consultant for companies of all sizes. Whether the company has an established program or is just getting started, I act as an outside resource for all stages of their email marketing program’s strategy and execution lifecycle.

5. I began offering social media marketing in my blog I like to cover ways for incorporating email into Twitter and Facebook. With clients I am frequently discussing coordinating their email programs with their social media plans.

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing

Donna Lynes-Miller GourmetStation
Grayson Daughters WaySouth Media
Lya Sorano Lya Sorano.com
Melissa Galt Today By Design
Jeaneane Sessum allied
Melissa Libby MelissaLibbyPR
Amber Rhea Being Amber Rhea
Jacki Schklar Funny Not Slutty
Laura Nolte Green Theory Interactive
Barbara Giamanco Talent Builders
Sue Rodman Field Trips With Sue
Sherry Heyl oncept Hub, Inc
Nadia Bilchik Nadia Speaks
Jen Gordon A Clever Twist
MIchelle Batten iMediaWorksConnects
Peggy Duncan PeggyDuncan.com
Diane DeSeta White Knight
Carol Flammer mRELEVANCE
JoAnn Hines Packaging Launch
Linda Lindsay Insol
Jamie Lackey Pizzeria Venti (Atlanta)
Stephanie Beckham BrainJocks
Lindsay Blankenship Lindsay Blankenship Razorfish
Sandi Karchmer Solow I Send Your Email
and me! Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing